Oklahoma State basketball: Cowboys fall to Iowa State, get No. 8 seed for Big 12 Tournament

Naz Long fired in a 3-pointer at the end of regulation, earning Iowa State extra time. And the Cyclones pulled away in the final seconds to win, ending OSU’s four-game winning streak and sticking the Cowboys with the No. 8 seed at next week’s Big 12 Tournament.
by John Helsley Published: March 8, 2014

AMES, Iowa — Iowa State fouled … when it wanted to. Oklahoma State didn’t.

The Cyclones hit crucial foul shots. The Cowboys didn’t.

ISU made the most of added time. Again.

OSU didn’t. Again.

So the Cowboys left Ames with many regrets Saturday, all found in an 85-81 overtime loss to No. 16 Iowa State before a sold-out Hilton Coliseum — and extending forward. The setback, after seemingly sure victory, dropped OSU into the No. 8 seed at the Big 12 Tournament and a looming second-day pairing with league champion Kansas.

That, of course, is if the Cowboys can get past Texas Tech in their opener on Wednesday, having split with the Red Raiders in the regular season. More fallout from more Hilton Magic, as OSU seemed poised to win its fifth straight and earn a 7-10 matchup with last-place TCU on the preferred side of the Big 12 bracket, away from the home floor KU will make of Kansas City’s Sprint Center.

“In the game of basketball, you’ve got to have a little bit of amnesia,” said Cowboys star Marcus Smart, “or you can never move on. It’ll kill you.

“We’ve got to let it go. We lost a close game. A well-fought game. Both teams were out there fighting. We’ve got to get ready for the Big 12 Tournament.”

Some amnesia is necessary, particularly for Cowboys guard Phil Forte, who missed a free throw with five seconds left in regulation that would have sealed the win, but instead cleared the way for Iowa State’s Naz Long to throw in a running 3-pointer from 30 feet, forcing the overtime.

“I came up short today,” a dejected Forte said afterward.

Yet there were regrets to go around, much like the first meeting between these two teams, when Iowa State won a 98-97 triple-overtime thriller in Stillwater.

• The Cowboys led by 16 in the second half, before the Cyclones finally heated up on the offensive end, scoring on 10 straight possessions and 13 of 14 during a torrid stretch that wiped out the deficit and sent them ahead. OSU regrouped and regained the lead, and even control, before the late-game turn of events. Still, surrendering the big lead gave the Cyclones and their crowd reason to believe.

“That was the difference,” said Cowboys coach Travis Ford.

• The Cowboys, who had been so good at closing games out at the line during their four-game winning streak, made but 21 of 31 foul shots (69 percent) and missed three in the final 30 seconds of regulation. Any of the three, two by Smart and the one by Forte, would have won it. Forte’s was magnified by the timing, but also because it was his third miss of the day. And he’s the Big 12’s top free-throw shooter, making 88.9 percent entering the game. Something was amiss for Forte on Saturday, however, as the many of the five he made bounced around the rim before falling through.

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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